Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More about spooky Katherine Harris

WaPo, by way of MSNBC:

Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn't want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent.

She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented.

Scary AND paranoid.

Perhaps the worst blow to Harris's campaign has been the stories that have emerged from former staffers. They describe a Jekyll-and-Hyde candidate who can be seductively charming at one moment and pitch a temper tantrum the next, throwing a cellphone at a wall or a sheaf of papers at a campaign manager. Former chief adviser Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan's reelection to the White House in 1984, said working for Harris was like "being in insanity camp." He likened her staff to dogs that have been kicked.

Before he became the first of three campaign managers to quit, Jim Dornan programmed his cellphone to play the theme song from "The Exorcist" when Harris called.

Happy Halloween!

Oh, and happy Halloween, by the way...

Because I won't post photos of the grandkids, I went through my photo collection and pulled up some scary faces instead.

Hardly a complete set, but here are some of the boogey men and women who scare ME.

Happy Halloween!

A witch

A scarecrow

Marie Antoinette

Jack Torrance

The Walrus (kookoocachoo)

How Much I'm Worth: $140.50

Lifted almost verbatim from Madame X, who is worth a good deal more than me however we add it up...

At first I missed the fifty cents and tacked it on anyway but didn't understand why...but I actually never have peed in a pool. If I count the ocean, however, I'm with you.

I got a chain email... kind of funny: you're supposed to go through the list and add up the amounts for the things you've done-- give it a try!

> Things you have done, BUT you have to add up the > money amount along the way, > then post the amount that you are as the title of > the bulletin such as "I'm > worth 15.50" or "I'm worth $300.50" or something > like that. > > > Send it to all ya e-mail buddies and don't forget > to include a copy for the > person who sent it to you. > > > ****NOW IF EVERYONE IS HONEST - THERE SHOULD BE .50 > TACKED ON TO EVERYBODY'S > TOTAL - DON'T FRONT!... :) > > Smoked pot--$10 > Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night > before--$20 > Went skinny dipping-- $5 > Had sex in a pool-- $20 > Kissed someone of the same sex-- $10 > Had sex with someone of the same sex $20 > Cheated on your g/f or b/f -- $10 > Cheated on your g/f or b/f with their relative or > close friend--$20 > Done oral-- $5 > Got oral-- $5 > Done / got oral in a car while it was moving --$25 > Prank called the cops-- $5 > Stole something-- $10 > Stole something worth more than a hundred > dollars--$20 > Had sex with someone 10 years older-- $20 > Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over > 27--$25 > Cried yourself to sleep-- $5 > Cried during sex--$20 > Been in love-- $25 > Been in love with two people or more at the same > time --$50 > Said you love someone but didn't mean it-- $25 > Went streaking-- $5 > Went streaking in broad daylight --$15 > Been arrested-- $5 > Spent time in jail --$15 > Peed in the pool-- $0.50 > Played spin the bottle-- $5 > Did something you regret-- $20 > Had a crush on your best friend--$5 > Had sex with your best friend --$20 > Had a crush on someone at work --$5 > Had sex with someone you work with--$25 > Lied to your mate --$5 > Lied to your mate about the sex being good --$25 > > DON'T FORGET TO REPOST WITH YOUR DOLLAR AMOUNT

I heart Jon Swift, too

Jon Swift: Rush Limbaugh Takes on the Wheelchair Lobby

Nobody tells it like Jon does:

Limbaugh said what many were thinking. Why do disabled people constantly feel the need to call attention to themselves? Why don't they do a better job of hiding their afflictions so that we don't have to see them, which just makes us uncomfortable? There was a time when someone like Franklin D. Roosevelt hid from the public the fact that he used a wheelchair because of his bout with polio. If Roosevelt had lived in the 19th century or in India, he might have been forced to become a street beggar displaying his affliction to earn a few alms. It is actually an example of our advanced civilization that we allowed him to have a proper job by shielding his disability from view. Now the 21st century has brought us the video version of the crippled street beggar, asking for votes instead of alms. I was horrified to see beloved conservative icon Alex P. Keaton in this condition, especially in an ad shilling for a Democrat. Aren't there FCC rules or network standards against this sort of thing? Now it seems as if the disabled not only have stopped hiding, they have to get in our faces.

Although Timothy Noah at Slate almost pulls it off with Rush Limbaugh Fakes Stupidity:

I'm not saying Limbaugh isn't a little bit stupid. I'll give him that. But give me a break. On the subject of Fox's Parkinson's, he's just all over the place making one asinine comment after another! He can barely control himself! But you'll notice Rush can still cut to a commercial when his engineer tells him to. I'm telling you: Limbaugh's moronic blowhard routine is purely an act. Limbaugh is exaggerating his stupidity to advance political ends, and I find that despicable.

Theater of the Absurd

From Shakespeare's Sister, the cleverly-named "Back to the Reality." I offer the first few frames. Go see Sis for the rest of the story.

More at Sis's place.

I've said it before: if Rush Limbaugh had something truly horrible happen to him, like, say, losing his hearing, perhaps he would show a little compassion for those who bodies turn against them through no fault of their own.

Oh, yeah. I forgot...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nyah, nyah, nyah, you ca-an't see me!

I have been waiting my whole life for this.

Scientists create cloak of invisibility.

Oh, the places we'll go!

Next stop: time machine. I have some things to take care of just as soon as that one becomes available at Target.

Yesterday John Lithgow was 61

Yesterday John Lithgow was 61.

Ty Pennington was 41.

Evander Holyfield was 44.

Bitty was 53.

I wonder if John and Ty and Evander were too busy at work to celebrate? (No pity for Bitty, though...I'm going with Tall Son and latest girlfriend to my favorite Japanese hibachi tonight!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If you are at all compulsive, ignore this post!

I got around to PostSecret late this week. One of the secrets was this:

...followed by a link to Virtual Bubble Wrap. If you are compulsive, don't click on the link. DON'T CLICK ON THE LINK!

Don't click here.

I told you not to click.

Manic mode isn't nearly as fun because it's not necessary to push the mouse, so ignore that (my advice anyway) because pushing is what creates the "real" experience.

But here's the freaky thing: if you ask for a fresh sheet, a crazed female voice whispers, "Must. Have. Moooooore!"

That voice sounds exactly like mine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Searching for answers

I picked up this simple but powerful ad at Shakespeare's Sister.

It speaks for itself -- or, perhaps, doesn't.

I Blame George Washington

Listening to George Bush speak yesterday about the growing threat from North Korea and to analysts on NPR talk about the history of the United States’ relationships with North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, I realized that we’ve been looking at the current world situation all wrong.

A lot of fingers have pointed at Bill Clinton lately, indicating that Clinton failed to nip these problems in their evil little buds. And of course many others blame George Bush for the mess that is current U.S. foreign policy. But all that is misplaced criticism.

I blame George Washington.

Did Washington at any time ever attempt either bi-lateral or multi-lateral talks with North Korea? History shows us that the answer is no. George Washington completely ignored this growing threat.

Did Washington ever try to hunt down Osama bin Laden and put an end to his plotting? Again, historians cannot find so much as a memo to indicate that George Washington ever took the alQaeda threat seriously.

Did Washington attempt to stop Saddam Hussein from harboring terrorists determined to strike the U.S.? Did he try to interfere with Iraq’s program of developing weapons of mass destruction? Did he even once acknowledge the walking piece of havoc that is Saddam Hussein? No, no, and no.

Did Washington make any effort to stop Iran’s vile plans to develop a nuclear weapon? Indeed, no. He turned a blind eye, as if Iran’s plans didn’t even matter to America.

Clearly the troubles that hound this nation today can be directly attributed to the utter failure of the alleged father of our country, George Washington, to anticipate the dangers of 21st century America and to take the necessary steps to keep us safe. Washington’s dismal record on both 21st century foreign policy in general and the Axis of Evil in particular prove that our first president had clearly taken his eye off the ball, had clearly failed to protect the interests of America.

George Washington: an utter failure.

Why did he hate our freedoms so?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kitchen mini-remodel, episode 2: How to remove wallpaper and how not to

A few weeks ago I removed most of the wallpaper from the eating side of the kitchen. Although I used a Paper Tiger and water, I wasn't having a lot of luck getting all the paper and glue off, and in some places the paint is coming completely off, revealing the paper of the drywall. I didn't use a chemical stripper with the Paper Tiger because I had pulled some of the paper off previously with good results, and frankly I didn't want to spend the money.

Right after that, I was watching Designed to Sell on my beloved HGTV, and Monica Pederson had a family removing wallpaper. She mentioned that if you mix liquid fabric softener with the water, it helps loosen the glue. (In this particular case, she had the family pull off the top part of the paper first, and then she had them spray the "underpaper.") This sounded really familiar...like something I had heard before and forgotten.

So today I was back at work on the mini-remodel. I perforated that paper so that not a single inch went unperforated, then sprayed the whole thing with the water and softener mix. (I estimate I put an ounce or two of softener into a quart of water.) I made no attempt to pull off the top layer first--I don't see the point. I saturated the wall, then saturated some more. I was going to wait about a half hour because that time frame seemed to work well in the past, but curiosity grabbed me by the arm and led me to the kitchen to start prying off the paper about 20 minutes in. It sort of came off ok, but the paper was partly wet and partly dry, so I sprayed it one more time and waited another five minutes.

At that point I was able to pull the paper off in sheets...I didn't even have to stand on the stool to get to the top. I just grabbed the bottom part and peeled it off upwards. It was, I'm not kidding, as easy to get off as pulling tissues out of a tissue box. All work should be so hard! It also does seem that there's very little glue residue left on the wall.


Kitchen wall before:

Kitchen wall right now:

(Well, I can't show it to you right now. I've uploaded the picture twice, Blogger says the upload was successful, but then it's not here. I'll try to do it again later.)

Obviously the refrigerator was in the corner beneath the cabinet. I'm trying to get Tall Son to build a microwave shelf under that cabinet. The refrig is moving to the area in the left part of this picture, and I'm installing cabinets in the space between. (This is why I didn't remove all the wallpaper, but as easy as it was, I could have.)

One concern I have is that in a few more places the paint is coming off clean, as a single piece of latex. I could almost peel the wall clean to the drywall if I had that kind of time and patience. I'm not sure how to deal with this...I think I'll try to sand the edges of these "peels," then prime. If that doesn't work...?

Later today Tall Son and I go to pick up the new Whirpool RANGE. Whoopee!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bitty v Too Beautiful to Be Involved, Part 2

Frankly, when I wrote about TBBI before, I thought she was a one-hit wonder, a subject to be whispered about and never spoken of again.

But now she's working on my last nerve.

We had a Famous Writer on campus last night. If students could go to the lecture, they were to go. If they couldn't, they are to do an alternate assignment in the coming days.

Both verbally and in writing I announced that students were to find me at the event and get themselves crossed off the list. I stood until the house lights dimmed, and the venue isn't that large. I wasn't invisible. Fifty or so students easily found me.

So TBBI shows up in class today, all breathless, and says she didn't know about having to check in with me, but really she was there. Really. See? Here's her ticket. Here's her program.

Honey, this may have worked with other people. But you're up against Bitty now.

I iterated that the requirement was to find me. But nevertheless, I tell her, she'll have to prove her attendance through what she says in the writing assignment -- which was also announced in advance.

Does it surprise you, dear reader, that TBBI wrote nothing about the talk? Does it surprise you that she instead took the alternate assignment description with her when she left class today?

Bitty 2

And TBBI, losing at the Game of College is not in your best interest, especially when you're losing in the events that are easily won.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The day grocery shopping was actually FUN!

Winn-Dixie is running a serious BOGO sale this week (with many other things on sale), and while I didn't immediately NEED most of the things I bought, they are all things I will USE. Added to that, last week they gave me a $10 coupon off this week's order.

Spent: $66.40
Saved: $59.95

Now if only the free food were also calorie free...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tell me I did the right thing!!! Kitchen mini-remodel, part one

I bought this tonight at Lowe's:

Whirlpool RF262LXSQ. Smooth cooktop; self-cleaning oven; drawer (big deal to someone who's had a drop-in for 30 years...)

I wanted a GE because the outgoing stove (May I please call it a stove now? Everyone I know calls these things STOVES, but people who make them and sell them call them RANGES. Now that I'm finished shopping, may I please use my own terminology?) is 30 years old and still works. But oh, how ugly it is! Home Depot isn't having a sale, I'm po'd at Sears, so Lowe's was my target store. However, all Lowe's had in stock in my price and feature range that was GE cost $600. But I could get the Whirlpool for $500. So I did. Did I do the right thing???

The kitchen is undergoing a mini-remodel. I wanted to rip everything out and create one of those magazine beauties. But I had to get real...I'll need a new car soon. I can probably limp along another year or two in the hand-me-down truck I drive, but as I look ahead I see that taking out a loan for a car is more important than taking out a loan for a dream kitchen. Especially since I avoid cooking...

More later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How to tell you've been looking rough lately

You put on a little makeup and three people tell you how good you look with it.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Too Beautiful to Be Involved

So I show a movie in class. (It doesn't happen that often.) It's a documentary, a rather amusing one, so most students are engaged. But Too Beautiful to Be Involved is checking her IMs (I may not be able to hear the dogwhistle, but I can see the glow, old as my eyes might be), gossiping with her friend, etc. She is quiet about it, and I don't want to interrupt the experience of the other students to call her out, and of course she sits in the back, so I let her go -- for now. I look forward to what she'll write on Thursday, however, when I ask for specific reaction to the film (NOT a pop assignment -- I announced the writing assignment before the film). On other occasions, she and her pals do group work quickly and superficially so they can get to the important talk -- about their lives, about other people. No need to bother your pretty head about strengthening your brain power, Too Beautiful.

I thought quite a while before posting this. Am I being unfair, prejudicial because she IS beautiful? My soul-search says no. Beautiful 17-to-20-year-olds are in abundant supply in my classes. They don't always act like this. Many -- heck, most -- are very involved, very curious. And while maybe Too Beautiful doesn't get involved because those looks have given her a free pass through life so far, maybe also she has some other reason -- intrinsic laziness, perhaps?

Later in the day, I unintentionally create a little experiment and in the process feel a little better about student curiosity. As students come into class, I hand them a copy of the New York Times. More than half the class sit down and start reading through the paper just because. The others stare off into space, take a power nap, or chat. But it nevertheless heartens me that so many freshmen read news voluntarily.

And now I'm considering handing papers to Too Beautiful's class to see what happens, this time creating an experiment on purpose, and not just directed at Too Beautiful.

I have to remind myself that no one -- especially 18 year olds -- are exactly what they appear to be. I'm remembering the beautiful student from this past summer who wrote eloquently on how empty she feels when she's not in a relationship and then how empty she feels when she is. She doesn't look or act like someone who is "empty." But that's the exterior.

I don't know how to "make" someone curious. And I'm not sure yet if I have the right approach, but I'm thinking through some strategies for forcing Too Beautiful to be involved in spite of herself, because call me foolish but I think a pretty head ought to have something in it.